AN investigation has been launched after a family’s beloved cat was found dismembered on a footpath.

The RSPCA says it is working with Essex Police amid concerns over the state of the tabby’s body.

The cat, called London, was found by a member of the public on a pathway and was missing both its head and tail.

Its owners were tracked down after they had posted numerous appeals for information about the pet on Facebook.

*Warning - some reader may find the photo below distressing

The cats body was taken to a vets which then raised the alarm with the RSCPA.

Suspicions over its death were raised because the head and tail still haven’t been found.

Experts believe the pet wasn’t attacked by another animal and are now urging anyone with information to come forward.

RSPCA inspector Jessica Bush said: “We are very grateful that the member of the public was kind enough to take this poor animal to a vet for further examination.

“Sometimes in cases like this, the animal has died from other causes, such as being hit by a vehicle, before a wild animal finds it and takes the head.

Thurrock Gazette: An x-ray showing the 'clean cut' on the cat's tailAn x-ray showing the 'clean cut' on the cat's tail

“However, like the vet that examined the cat’s body, we do suspect this could be suspicious as the x rays which were carried out showed that the bones were cleanly cut and - as the tail was also missing - highlight it is unlikely to be an animal attack which is why we are not ruling out other possibilities.

“I’m very keen to hear from anyone with any information about what happened to poor London and my heart goes out to her family.”

The tabby, which was three-and-a-half years old, was found in Loftin Way, Chelmsford.

Anyone with information about the incident should contact the RSPCA’s inspectorate appeal line on 0300 123 8018.